The Third Week of Advent

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Yesterday, was the beginning of the third week of Advent.  This week our family has chosen to do our Advent on Thursday when our family will be all together.  We will be lighting our third candle, the shepherd’s candle, which is pink in color and represents God’s love and faithfulness to us.

The suggested Bible reading from “Celebrating A Christ-Centered Christmas” is:

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“How lovely on the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who announces peace
And brings good news of happiness,
Who announces salvation,
and says to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”
Isaiah 52:7

and

“In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
But the angel said to them,

“Do not be afraid;
for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;
for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior,
who is Christ the Lord.
This will be a sign for you:
you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Luke 2:8-12

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There are only ten days left until Christmas!  I pray that peace and happiness rest on your family and that the Salvation of God is alive in your heart.  Your God reigns!

Merry Christmas!

Constance

Christmas – A Time To Shine!

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Christmas is only 15 days away! Can you believe it? I love this time of year when all our family comes together and we get to see those who have gone off to college or who have been working crazy hours.

During Christmas we want to declare our excitement for the Birth of our Savior, so we put up twinkling lights along our driveway fence and we cover some of our bushes with nets of tiny white twinkling lights, and add bigger lights to a not-so-tall evergreen out front.  Beautiful! We will get our Christmas tree, and decorate it with beautiful lights and colored decorative Christmas balls, and draw names and then begin to place colorfully wrapped Christmas gifts under the tree.

The mailman has been delivering Christmas cards almost daily now and we hang them on a long thick red sparkly Christmas ribbon so we can see all the pretty faces of our friends and family and pray blessings for them.

We make our Christmas cards and get them ready for my oldest son to return next week, then all I’ll have to do is take a picture of him with the whole family, get copies made and put the last touches on the cards and off they’ll go. How fun!

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I’ve been gathering stocking stuffers here and there and will put those up early next week.

All of these things help to make our hearts and our home shine.  You could probably add some of your own wonderful traditions to this list and it would all be absolutely gorgeous!

One of my favorite things to do is go for a drive the night before Christmas and listen to the Christmas story of Jesus’ birth on the radio.  We will see all the beautifully lit up houses, and then drive back home, down our own driveway with the twinkling lights and the Christmas tree in the window. What a wonderful time of the year to be joyful in our Lord!

As beautiful and fun as all the lights and decorations are, when I sat down to read the story and scripture reading for Advent today from “Handel’s Messiah Family Advent Reader”, I could quickly see that God spoke of another kind of “Shine” through Isaiah when he said:

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“Get yourself up on a high mountain, O Zion,
bearer of good news,
Lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem,
bearer of good news;

Lift it up, do not fear.
Say to the cities of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
Isaiah 40:9

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“Arise, shine; for your Light has come,
And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.”
Isaiah 60:1

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I want to get up on a high mountain and lift up my voice to bear the Good News of Jesus Christ – Shout it to the world!  I don’t want to be silent and not even say, “Merry Christmas”, due to fear.  I want to say to everyone, “Here is your God!”.  I want to SHINE for Jesus just like all the twinkling lights we have put out, and even brighter because He has come and His glory has risen upon us!

I would love to hear of your Christmas traditions and all your beautiful ways to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.  How do you shine for Him?  Are you ever afraid to say “Merry Christmas”?

I have made SimplyLiving101 just for you.  I pray that you find it to be a great encouragement to cherish the things of God above all else.  Don’t forget to check out my Bible study “December Love” written free just for you in the right side bar ——->

Merry Christmas!

Constance

Advent On Monday?

Check out my Bible studies, “November Thankfulness” and “December Love” free for you in the right side bar ——->
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Last night our daughter got home pretty late from work, and some of the family had already fallen asleep, so we decided to have our second Sunday of Advent tonight when our schedules matched up a little better.  We re-lit our Prophecy candle from last week, as well as our Bethlehem candle for tonight.  And we took turns reading from the following Scriptures:

Blinkin Squiggle“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.”
Micah 5:2

and

“Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.”
Luke 2:1-7

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After this, our oldest daughter read an interesting story about Herod the Great from the Herodian family.  All of the stories from “The Handel’s Messiah Family Advent Reader” are very interesting and sometimes quite entertaining.  We have been reading them for years and have never tired of them.  You’ll have to order your own to see what I mean.

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After this story, we listened to another piece from “Handel’s Messiah”.  The words were, “But who may abide the Day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner’s fire.” – Taken from Malachi 3:2 – He’s coming for His Bride, a pure Bride and we need to make ourselves ready for His return.  Malachi 4:2 says,

“But for you who fear My name,
the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings;
and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.”

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Do you ever find it hard to line the schedules of your family members up just right?  It especially gets hard as your kids grow up and start driving and getting jobs and going off to college.  But I look forward to the day when they find the ones they will spend the rest of their lives with and come back home with grandchildren during the holidays to celebrate Jesus Christ with a whole new generation of little ones.  What a beautiful thing to dream of!

Thank you for stopping by.  I pray your Christmas days are going well as you prepare to celebrate the day of Jesus’ birth.  Blessings to you and your family,

Happy Advent!

Constance

Looking For A Great Light

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UPDATE:  First Advent Sunday, complete with sparkling cider 🙂  Come Lord Jesus, Come!

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Tonight at 7:00 p.m. our family will begin Advent.  Tonight is the first Sunday in which we will gather around our Advent wreath that sits on our breakfast nook and light candles, each representing a different aspect of the coming of Christ.

The candle that we light tonight is called the Prophecy candle. Once it is burning, we will take turns reading the following suggested Scriptures from “Celebrating A Christ-Centered Christmas”:

 

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“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.  You shall multiply the nation,
You shall increase their gladness;
They will be glad in Your presence as with the gladness of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor,
as at the battle of Midian.
For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult,
and cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire.  For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father,
Prince of Peace.”

                                                                                                Isaiah 9:2-6

and

“The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.  “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.  “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”  Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”  The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason
the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”

                                                                                                  Luke 1:30-35

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After we have read from the Scriptures above, we will read a story from “The Handel’s Messiah Family Advent Reader” and we’ll listen to these words from Handel’s Messiah:

“Hallelujah! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.  The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.  Hallelujah!”

This part of Handel’s Messiah is based on the following Scriptures:

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“Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying,

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.”
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evelation 19:6

“Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,
“The kingdom of the world has become
the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ;
and He will reign forever and ever.”
Revelation 11:15

“And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
Revelation 19:16

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Advent is a wonderful time to really stop and focus on Jesus Christ’s return for His Bride, the Church.

I pray this post is beneficial to you.  I would love to hear how you are doing and the different traditions you may have during this special time of the year when we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world and longingly look forward to His return.  Blessings to you and your family.

Merry Christmas!

Constance

Ready For Advent This Sunday?

You can find “November Thankfulness” in the right side bar ——>
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Just wanted to take a moment and remind you of the beginning of Advent this Sunday. If you are out and about this weekend, you may want to remember to get your candles if you have not done so. I’ll give you a review of how our family celebrates Advent and the color of candles we use and what they represent.

Blinkin SquiggleI make a centerpiece on our breakfast nook where we meet in the evenings to remember the coming of Jesus and read Scriptures that pertain to His birth and His future arrival.  In the centerpiece I incorporate five candles in a circular design.  I then add decorations around the candles to make it beautiful such as pine cones, leaves, and ribbon.

You will need three purple candles, one pink candle and one large white candle that can burn for an entire day.  The white candle will sit in the center of your circular design with the others round about. The colors of the candles may vary, but these are the colors we use.

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On the first Sunday you will light a purple Prophecy candle.
On the second Sunday you will light a purple Bethlehem candle.  You will also light the Prophecy candle.
On the third Sunday you will light a pink Shepherd’s candle.  You will also light the Prophecy and the Bethlehem candles.
On the fourth Sunday you will light a purple Angel’s candle.  You will also light the Prophecy, Bethlehem, and the Shepherd’s candles.

The fifth candle is the Christ’s candle and is lit on Christmas Eve all by itself.  We purchase a large white candle with three or four wicks that is safe to burn for extended periods of time.  Keep it lit throughout the day of Christmas Eve, but of course, be extremely careful to blow it out and let it cool down periodically.

If you would like to do Advent on Sundays only, I highly recommend “Celebrating A Christ-Centered Christmas” by Sharon Jaynes.  Her illustrations are absolutely lovely and we have enjoyed this book in our home for many years, not only for Advent, but for wonderful Christmas ideas.

If, however, you would like to do Advent everyday and not just on Sunday, you should consider “The Handel’s Messiah Family Advent Reader” by Donna W. Payne and Fran Lenzo – our family loves this book and although we have never accomplished actually being together every night through Advent, due to different schedules – we have certainly made really good attempts to do so.  You can still use this book for Advent on Sundays only. Also, a great blog to get excellent understanding of celebrating Advent is ExpectantlyListening with Victoria.

The following are some Scriptures that could be read for each Sunday and on Christmas Eve.

November 30: Luke 1:30-35
December 7: Luke 2:1-7
December 14: Luke 2:8-12
December 21: Luke 2:13-20
December 24: John 1:6-13

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Is this the first time you are considering celebrating Advent?  If so, I would love to hear from you. I’m so glad you have stopped by SimplyLiving101 and hope that you will stop by again.  Please leave a comment and let me know how you celebrate the coming of Jesus with your family.  Blessing to you and your family.

Happy Advent!

Constance

Advent Thoughts

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I love studying the books of I & II Thessalonians and as I have been preparing my heart for Thanksgiving and looking forward to Advent, which begins November 30, I thought of some particular verses where Paul gave some pretty amazing descriptions of things that are still to come; Things we are asked to comfort each other with in regards to the next coming of Christ.

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“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep,
so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord,
that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord,
will not precede those who have fallen asleep.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God,
and the dead in Christ will rise first.

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Then we who are alive and remain
will be caught up together with them in the clouds
to meet the Lord in the air,
and so we shall always be with the Lord.

Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

                                                                                                                        I Thessalonians 4:13-18

Blinkin SquigglePeter also gave some words of wisdom in regards to preparing our hearts for the coming of Christ.  He said,

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action,
keep sober in spirit,
fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Christ.

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,
but like the Holy One who called you,
be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;
because it is written,

“YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

                                                                                             I Peter 1:13-16

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What are some special ways you observe Advent?
I would love for you to share your ideas of preparing for the coming of our Lord Jesus in the clouds!

Just leave a comment below.

Our family uses a very special book for Advent called,

“The Handel’s Messiah Family Advent Reader”,

Should Jesus tarry, this book will be a beautiful heirloom for generations to come.
Also, if you would like to know of a wonderful blog that will thoroughly prepare you for Advent, as well as Jesus’ Birthday, check out

expectantlylistening.com with Victoria.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Constance